150Mormon Historical Studies
America to augment the building of Nauvoo. However, during the winter of 1846, they were forced to leave their beloved city. They crossed the prairieby the thousands, and Brigham Young established a temporary Church head-quarters at Winter Quarters—on the west bank of the Missouri River nearmodern-day Omaha, Nebraska. In the spring and summer of 1847, Young leda vanguard company of Saints into the Great Basin. There they establisheda new home in the Salt Lake Valley where they prepared the desert to blos-som as a rose. Like any inhabitants of a pioneer oasis, these Saints who set-tled in the desert West were eager to receive communications from theirloved ones. Therefore, it was timely that 1847 also marked the establishmentof postal service extending from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast andthe adoption of the U.S. postal stamp by the United States government.
Before the year closed, Brigham Young returned to the Missouri River;and at a Church conference held on 27 December 1847, the Church sus-tained him as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.This important event occurred on the eastern side of the river oppositeWinter Quarters. Here in Iowa Territory, Pottawattamie County had justbeen established on 24 February of this same year.
According to WilfordWoodruff, the Saints had just spent three weeks building a “Log Tabernaclefor this & other Conferences.”
Woodruff later noted that at the time Youngand his counselors were sustained in the First Presidency, “about 1,000 soulsgot in the House [Tabernacle].”
Before Brigham Young returned to the Salt Lake Valley, he appointedhis thirty-three-year-old nephew, Evan M. Greene, to serve as the postmas-ter for this region, which was known as “Council Bluffs.”
Here Greeneserved for nearly five years before immigrating to Utah in 1852. During histenure as postmaster, he sent mail with each pioneer company as it depart-ed Kanesville (Council Bluffs) for the Salt Lake Valley.
The settlement and development of the West created the need for morepost offices. One author noted, “There is perhaps no better register of thegrowth of the country than the record of the expansion of the postal service.The opening of a post office in some remote section of the West is a proof sufficient of the presence of the pioneer.”
Not only did a Kanesville postoffice create a vehicle for better communication with the outside world forthe Saints temporarily settled in Pottawattamie County but also, perhapsmore importantly, the post office served as an important signal that thisLatter-day Saint community was officially recognized by the federal admin-istration in Washington, D.C. Therefore, with a successful petition for alocal post office, a local government could be created, inherent with thelegal rights that brought stability and security to a newly formed county.